"It was a lovely place to live, and I’d happily go back if I became homeless again"
Mark endured some difficult months before finding Arc, and sadly found that life can change in an instant. Having recently moved into his own flat, we caught up with him to hear his story with homelessness.
"In February 2021, just two weeks before my 40th birthday, my life suddenly came crashing down. My partner of 13 years had been caught cheating on me. I had everything I needed at this time in my life, but it was taken from under my feet. I hit the bottle hard and, using the last of my savings, I bought myself a rather large coach to live in. It seemed perfect!
My plan was to live in my friend’s shed for a couple of months to fix it up. However, I went to check on it after a week of solid rain and unfortunately everything had been soaked right through. Literally everything ruined.
I had a choice to make, and I decided to try and sell the coach. I had paid £5,500, but I couldn’t get a penny for it now. I ended gifting it to someone else in need.
Still drinking heavily, I was in the shed for 3 months in total before I was offered a room in temporary accommodation (not associated with Arc). I met somebody there who was an amazing friend at that time. We drank together and I started on a few different substances.
We ended up in a relationship. It was unexpected to say the least! Finding a new partner in a homeless shelter was not my plan. Anyway, we moved into a tent during December as he had been evicted. I didn’t want to lose the only thing I had left.
During our nine months together, we were gifted many things. We lived in tents, had a couple of weeks at a hotel, lived in caravans on the side of the road and in campsites where we worked as cleaners for a free space. We basically made the most of our homeless journey. Unfortunately, those were our good days.
We both had mental health issues. Long story short, we split, but it was for the best. After I moved into a tent again, I went to Arc for support. Everyone was so helpful, after struggling to get help elsewhere, and I was offered a space at Norie House at Arc.
Arc were amazing. They have been phenomenal in helping me. The made sure I was placed in suitable accommodation which enabled me to stay away from alcohol. It was a lovely place to live, and I’d happily go back if I became homeless again – it has a real family feel. I’m quite independent but knowing that my Support Worker, Ben, was there if I needed him was nice. Having a base was great, I wasn’t living in a tent, carrying my belongings and having to move around. It meant I could save money, stay sober and helped me to move onto the next stage.
After just 3 months, I was offered a flat to call my own and have recently moved in. I am now four months sober and absolutely loving my new place. They say life begins at 40, mine just happened to be a year late."
Mark took part in our art exhibition, creating this piece called "Mouse ate my pad".
We are so pleased that we were able to offer Mark the assistance he needed to get back on his feet. Thank you for helping us to help him.